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Bunnell’s Bounces: Revenge time in Norman

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The Horned Frogs hit the road in hopes of redeeming their early season loss to Oklahoma.

NCAA Basketball: Baylor at Texas Christian Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

After starting Big 12 play 2-1, the Frogs have now lost two in a row, falling to Kansas and Baylor; two top-10 teams.

The Horned Frogs are an above-average team, but competing in the Big 12 this season is a daunting task. A hefty 50% of the conference is ranked in the AP top-15, more than any other conference.

It’s safe to say the Frogs won’t win them all, but road games like tonight are crucial moving forward. Especially when you consider how close the Frogs were to beating Oklahoma the first time around.

The Sooners are coming off the same set of losses as the Frogs. They failed to cover the spread against Baylor, losing 76-61, but covered in a close game with Kansas losing only 63-59.

After Saturday’s loss, TCU’s record against the spread is now 4-8-1. Ironically, the Frogs are 1-7-1 against the spread at home, yet they are 2-0 ATS on the road (not including the Hall of Fame classic games).

Oklahoma on the other hand is 5-4-1 against the spread this season and has covered in their last two conference home games.

The Sooners aren’t nearly as talented or deep as Baylor, and the Frogs proved they could hang with the best of the best for at least one half. As long as TCU can correct some of their recent offensive struggles, there is no reason they can’t win this ball game.

On the verge of a losing streak, facing a beatable conference opponent, playing on the road, projected underdogs — these are the type of games the Frogs’ need to win.

Enough of what I expect from the Frogs, let’s see where the oddsmakers have set the lines for tonight’s game in Norman:

TCU vs Oklahoma

  • Tip-off: 6:30 p.m. CST
  • Spread: OU -6.5, TCU +6.5
  • Over/Under: 138
  • Money Line: OU -285, TCU +235

My Pick: TCU +6.5, pass on O/U

At the time of writing this, 61% of public bets are siding with TCU to cover the spread. An impressive 86% of the money sides with the Frogs as well. The over/under is split more evenly as 51% of public bettors are taking the under yet 71% of the money is on the over.

I debated taking the over for quite some time, but both teams have been inconsistent with their scoring so I think it’s a safer option to pass on this line.

My reasoning for taking the Frogs +6.5 is simple, they covered against the Sooners last time, they can do it again. For some reason TCU has played better on the road this season than at home, so who knows, the Frogs could end up winning outright.

Last time in the Schollmaier Arena, Oklahoma guard Austin Reaves put on a show dropping 32 points and 9 assists in 36 minutes. Defending him will be one of the Frogs’ keys to victory tonight, they can’t let him get hot like he did last game.

Reaves will have an even bigger role tonight considering the Sooners’ backcourt duo of Brady Manek and Jalen Hill are expected to miss the game due to COVID-19 protocol.

Even though this has no real effect on the game’s outcome, it’s still an interesting fact: The underdog is 6-1 against the spread in the last seven meetings between these teams.

The fact that ESPN’s Basketball Power Index gives TCU just a 22.7% chance of winning is just downright disrespectful. Back the Frogs to cover in what should be a back-and-forth game.

Moving on to some other games around the country, my record after Saturday’s games sits at 17-14-1. I’ve had a relatively rough week, but I’ll never lose my confidence.

Here are my three best bets for today’s college basketball slate:

Pick 1: Toledo -5 (1H) vs Eastern Michigan

  • Tip-off: 6:00 p.m. CST

Why: Toledo has been on an absolute tear recently. The Rockets have now won seven games in a row and covered the spread in six straight. These teams have already met once this season with Toledo winning 91-74 on the road. Since then, the Rockets have played twice as many games compared to the Eagles due to several COVID-related postponements. It’s unfortunate for EMU, but it’s an edge for Toledo. This is partially why I’m taking the 1st half spread, Toledo has played more games at a more consistent rate. I would also consider splitting this line with half a unit on the 1st half spread and half a unit on the full game spread (Toledo -9).

Pick 2: Florida -3 vs Ole Miss

  • Tip-off: 6:00 p.m. CST

Why: There is a ton of value on the Gators tonight in a bounce-back position. Florida has struggled in their last two games against Bama and Kentucky, but I’m confident they can turn things around at home. The Rebels seem to have a decent squad, but they only have one applause-worthy win against Auburn. Ole Miss has lost three of their last four despite being favored to beat both Wichita State and LSU. It’s also worth a note that Ole Miss lost to LSU by 14, yet Florida beat them by four. Overall, Florida has shown some slight regression ever since Keyontae Johnson was sidelined, but this is one of those games they’ll need to win to avoid a total downfall.

Pick 3: UNC -195 vs Syracuse as a parlay piece

  • Tip-off: 8:00 p.m. CST

Why: I would like to take UNC -4.5 for the full game spread, but for some reason the Tar Heels just love playing in close games. Each of their last four games has been decided by five points or less, so I think the money line is a safer play. UNC got embarrassed 81-53 last time these two met, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this matchup has been circled on their calendar for quite some time. Back UNC to get the job done at home.

The comment section is open! What are your favorite picks for today’s games? Do you think the Horned Frogs can cover the +6.5 point spread against Oklahoma? Let us know!